Best Running Gear Of The Year: Karla’s Favorites

Favorite Gear of the Year

Running in some of my favorite gear of the year. (Phil Hospod)

Christmas is right around the corner and New Year’s isn’t far behind. Putting together a wish list for your running resolutions? Still need a gift? Here is my favorite running gear of 2014.

The products on this list are the best clothes, gadgets and running gear that I’ve tried this year. There are more than 50 items from more than 25 brands. For every item here, I’ve sampled another two or three things that didn’t make the cut, including products in every category. Companies send me loads of samples, many unsolicited, and I often receive products in swag bags at races and events. So I didn’t buy anything you see here. I also don’t keep most of what I receive.

But if it’s on this list, I officially own it and love it—I don’t list anything I haven’t used myself. In clothing, I’ve tried the women’s versions, but many come in men’s options too. And I’ve included the list prices, though you’ll find many items for less than that.

Also, if it’s been in a past gift or gear guide of mine, I didn’t include it here. But many of the products I highlighted in the days of yore are still available. So here are my gift guides from 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2009.

Looking for running shoes? The Best Running Shoes? A Guide To 10 Neutral Pairs.

Looking for triathlon gear? Triathlon Gear List For Runners, Beginners and Beyond.

Without further ado, here is all of my favorite running gear of the year.

Favorite Running Gear of 2014

Digital Gadgets

Favorite Running Gear of the year

Bia Multi-Sport GPS Watch

Bia GPS Sports Watch, $279

Bia is a new two-piece device consisting of an ultra-light, slim wrist piece paired with a GPS “Go Stick” that clips onto your top, waist-band, visor or anywhere else you want to wear it. The Go Stick is the brains of the operation with an SOS safety alert, fast-connecting GPS, automatic uploads to your training log, and multi-sport functionality.

Run, swim, bike or do all three in one workout. And with live tracking, your friends and family can follow you on race-day or when you’re along in a remote area. I tested it while I ran the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco, and it worked wonderfully. Best of all, Bia comes in six fun colors. I have it in purple. Stay tuned for my full review.

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

Timex Ironman Run x20

Timex Ironman Run x20 GPS, $100

Are you looking for a small, simple, and streamlined GPS watch? Look no further than Timex Run x20. In three bright colors plus basic black, this watch is the antidote to the big, bulky, expensive GPS watch with features you never use.

Instead, you get the features you really need: reliable GPS workout timing with speed, pace, and distance; run/walk timer; interval timer; stopwatch; automated pace alerts; night-light; alarm; and water resistance up to 50 meters. The interface and menus are supremely easy to use. Plus, it’s really easy on the eyes.

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

Nike Fuelband

Nike+ Fuelband SE, $99

The Nike+ Fuelband SE is the first fitness tracker that I’ve tried, so I have no basis for comparison. That said, I love it (and I’ve tried a few other watches and gadgets this year that I can’t say the same about).

I work from home, so I don’t take nearly as many steps in my daily “commute” as most folks. In other words, if I’m not running, I barely move from my desk chair. Wearing the Nike+ Fuelband has shown me just how little activity I really have in a day unless I make a conscious effort to get up and move more. Thankfully, the Fuelband reminds me when to move, tracking my steps, Fuelband “points,” calories, and more. It’s motivated me to make my days more active outside of my workouts. That’s a win!

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

Koss FitClips

Koss FitClips and FitBuds, $30

Headphones made for women, by women in five fun colors and two styles—clips or buds. With three different ear cushion sizes to choose from, Koss FitClips fit my ears perfectly and stay put during sweaty runs. The FitBuds do too. Plus, they’re comfortable. I barely notice they’re there, even the around-the-ear clips. And they’re super light too. Once I got these, I handed my old black and red headphones to my husband with a, “Here. You can have these.” FitClips are it for me now!

Gear

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

Oakley Commit Squared Sunglasses

Oakley Commit Squared Breast Cancer Awareness Edition, $170: The Commit Squared frame is made for women and fits my face perfectly, unlike 90 percent of sunglasses out there. The frame is light and the lenses are truly smudge-resistant and block 100 percent of UV rays. The standard lenses aren’t polarized. However, the frame is made to change lenses easily if you want to swap in a pair of polarized. Best of all, Oakley donates $20 to for each pair sold to Young Survival Coalition, a non-profit serving young women with breast cancer. You can see me in these glasses at the Newport Naval Station Sprint Triathlon.

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

Fitletic Hydration Belt 12oz

Fitletic Hydration Belt, $40-$49

I have long been a fan of Fitletic belts since buying my first one a few years ago. I’ve since acquired two more, the latest of which is the 12oz Hydration Belt. What I love about these belts above all others, and why I race with them again and again, is that they actually stay put, no matter where I put them—on my hips or around my waist. With a soft, adjustable waistband, they don’t chafe and they don’t bounce, unlike lots of other belts I’ve tried. Plus, the neoprene zip compartment is water resistant, keeping the contents (like my camera or phone) dry. The 12oz holds just enough water for me for a run up to 10 miles. For longer, I’d recommend the 16oz belt. It will also hold your gels in loops and your race bib with the attached toggles. It’s got everything you need.

WorkoutLabs Exercise Cards Make Workouts Simple

Exercise Cards

WorkoutLabs Exercise Cards, $25

WorkoutLabs compensated me to try and review their Exercise Cards, and I legitimately loved them. This simple deck has an exercise, stretch, or workout per card. Each deck has 40 exercises, nine stretches, and five workouts plus a stretching routine—no equipment required. Build a favorite routine, shuffle the deck and pick exercises at random, or play 52 Pickup. No matter how you use them, these Exercise Cards are great for working out anywhere. I’ve used them at home, in hotel rooms, and in the backyard.

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

Princess Crown Shwings

Sparkle Athletic Shwings, $10

Want some flash for your feet? Sparkle Athletic had Shwings, the folks behind lace-on shoe wings, create custom styles for Disney-minded runners like me. Choose from Princess Crowns, Fairy Wings, Polka Dot Bows, Lightning Bolts, and classic Wings. I have the Princess Crowns on my New Balance Cinderella shoes, and I feel extra special every time I wear them. They help keep me young at heart, if not fleet of feet.

Running Jackets

I tried no fewer than seven new running jackets this year. These two are the tops.

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

MYTHOS 2.0 WINDSTOPPER Soft Shell Jacket

Gore Running Wear MYTHOS 2.0 WINDSTOPPER Soft Shell LADY Jacket, $200

Windproof and warm, this jacket has become my new go-to jacket. You’ve seen me wear it while training for and after running the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon. Plus, it’s cute too with a modern reflective pattern on the sides and sleeves, which also have thumbholes. Throw in front zip pockets, back ventilation, fleece lining and adjustable hem, and this baby has it all. Most days, I wear it alone. But for really cold weather, I pair it with the MYHTOS 2.0 GORE-TEX Active Jacket for ultimate protection from the elements.

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

MYTHOS 2.0 GORE-TEX Jacket

Gore Running Wear MYHTOS 2.0 GORE-TEX Active Jacket, $260

Waterproof and breathable, rain and snow won’t stop your run. Styled like the MYTHOS 2.0 Soft Shell with reflective print, this jacket also has adjustable cuffs, hem, and collar. I also got the optional hood that attaches with velcro for when I need more than just a hat to shield my head. For really inclement weather, this outer layer pairs nicely with the Soft Shell jacket.

Long Sleeve Shirts

Best GIfts For Runners 2014

Brooks PureProject Henley LS

Brooks Women’s PureProject Hemley LS, $70

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love the thermal fabric, snaps at the neck, thumbholes at the sleeves, and double-layer of fabric in front. Yup, if you lift that top flap to, say, wipe your face when you run, your stomach is still covered by a soft knit.

I get compliments every time I wear this—even when I’m not running. It’s the perfect piece to wear to workout and then straight to brunch.

Best Gifts For Runners

UA Qualifier T-Neck

Under Armour Women’s UA Qualifier T-Neck, $65

A turtleneck for running? Yes! I love the close fit and soft, brushed interior of this ultra warm layer from Under Armour. Pull the stretch-mesh neck over your mouth and nose for the coldest days and thumbholes keep sleeves in place. Plus, it wicks sweat, has reflective details, a scalloped hem and zip pocket in back.

I wear it even when I’m not running, I love it so much. This one will be in my closet for years to come.

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

Nike All Time Full Zip

Nike All Time Full Zip, $60

The Nike All Time Full Zip may look like just another hoodie, but looks can be deceiving. Unzip this beauty to reveal a brushed fleece-like thermal fabric that is warm and cozy. The hoodie zips all the way up to your chin and the sleeves have thumbholes for cold days.

I wear this one when I’m running and even when I’m not. If you have long arms like me, you might want to order one size up to take advantage of those thumbholes.

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

Nike Miler Long-Sleeve

Nike Miler Long-Sleeve Running Shirt, $42

Silky smooth and with a flattering tapered fit, the Nike Miler Long-Sleeve Running Shirt is one of those classic base pieces that you’ll wear again and again and again. I love that it’s long enough for my 5’8 frame and slightly longer in back. Plus, it just feels great against my skin.

If you need a basic poly sweat wicking long sleeve, you can’t do better than this.

Running Tanks

Oakley Stride Tech Tank, $25

This basic tank is anything but basic. The TENCEL-spandex-polyester material is super soft, but does heavy-duty sweat wicking. The cut is long and lean. A side pocket tucked into the seam gives you on-the-go storage with cut-outs for media cords. I wear this again and again and again, like at the Runner’s World 5K at the Heartbreak Hill Half.

Best Running Gear of 2014

Oakley Stride Tech Tank

Best Running Gear of 2014

Gore Sunlight 3.0 Singlet

Gore Running Wear Sunlight 3.0 Singlet, $56

The Sunlight 3.0 Singlet is insanely lightweight and comfortable with chafe-free seams and a light weave polyester-spandex. What’s more, it’s crazy cute too. Draw strings at the sides let you wear it your way and contrast details at the shoulders give an extra touch of flair. Want to look adorable when you run and sweat your heart out? This is it.

New Balance Tonic Tunic, $28-$41

The New Balance Tonic Tunic is a fantastic race day top. I wore it at the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half and the Firecracker 8K. It’s ultra lightweight and wicks sweat supremely well. And I love the longer tunic length, too. It’s a simple, but powerful garment. Love this one!

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

New Balance Tonic Tunic

Best Running Gear of 2014

Soffe Tank

Soffe Performance Racer, $17

If you’re like me, you may not have heard of Soffe. But when they sent me this Performance Racer, they found a new fan. The tank has a slight trapeze cut, which I absolutely love, elevating it from a basic tank. This is a wear all the time, wear anywhere top.

Short Sleeves Shirts

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

Nike Crew

Nike Dri-FIT Touch Breeze Crew, $25-$40

This shirt is so ultralight, it feels barely there—perfect for hot-weather runs. The slouchy fit is super stylish and shows just a pop sports bra strap.

As a runner who generally prefers a tank, this has become my favorite shirt. I reach for it again and again. You saw me wearing it in Peru. The range of summer colors are now on sale for $24.97.

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

Nike Miler V Neck

Nike Miler V-Neck, $38

The Nike Miler V-Neck bridges the gap between a tank and short sleeve top. With mesh panels on the side and sweat wicking fabric, this shirt keeps you cool on hot days. The fabric is soft as can be and the fit is perfectly tapered.

It’s the short-sleeve version of the Nike Miler Long Sleeve above. I wear this one a lot.

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

New Balance Boylston Short Sleeve

New Balance Boylston Short Sleeve, $25-$55

With a cut-out back, this might be the most stylish tee I’ve tried in years. The neckline, sleeves and hem are laser-cut and bonded for a smooth finish.

Plus, the polyester-spandex fabric moves with you, and perforations throughout make it supremely breathable. Throw in reflective details and this one has it all. I love it. I chose it as part of my uniform for On The Run at the NYRR Brooklyn Half on ABC.

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

New Balance Impact Short Sleeve

New Balance Impact Short Sleeve, $20-$40

You won’t find this beauty at NewBalance.com anymore, but plenty of other retailers carry one of my favorite run tees. With a fully mesh back and UPF 30 fabric, it’s a great warm-weather piece. The tunic length top also has a really flattering cut. It all adds up to s short sleeve that wears like a tank.

This is the shirt I credit with converting me from a tank-only runner to giving short sleeves a chance too.

Best Running Gear of 2014

Gore Sunlight 3.0 Shirt

Gore Running Wear 3.0 Sunlight Shirt, $60

I wore this shirt all the way to my fastest half-marathon in two years at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon. Comfortable as can be. It’s soft, light, wicks sweat, stretches, and looks great too with contrast details at the neck and arms. I love the longer, tapered cut that sits just right on my hips.

And it comes in a rainbow of eye-popping colors, like the Lumi Orange that I own.

Running Tights & Capris

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

Nike Flash Tights

Nike Flash Tights, $150

Nike has long made my favorite tights, and somehow they just keep out doing themselves.

I feel like a superhero in the Flash Tights. The Dri-FIT jersey fits like second skin, wicks sweat, and is long enough to actually cover my ankles for cold weather. Best of all, all that flash on the side is just that—completely reflective. Want to feel like a movie star when you run? These are the tights for you. I get compliments and questions every single time I wear them.

Best Running Gear of 2014

Gore Mythos Windstopper Tights

Gore Running Wear Mythos 2.0 Windstopper Soft Shell Tights, $150

Need a pair of seriously warm tights? I love these all-weather pants from Gore. The soft-brushed interior with no-chafe seams are cozy and the outer Windstopper fabric does just that—keeps wind out.

I’ve tested these on many runs, including an incredibly windy day along the Hudson River in New York City and in freezing temps. My cheeks stung and nose turned red, but my legs didn’t feel a bit of windchill. Plus, they’re incredibly comfortable. Love!

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

Nike Epic Lux Printed Crops

Nike Epic Lux Printed Running Crops, $80

I love me some prints and some color, and I love my Nike tights, so these printed crops are a match made in heaven for me.

The nylon-spandex fabric is super soft and stretchy for a snug, but comfortable fit. You’ve got a waistband pocket and zippered back pocket for on the go storage. The length is shorter than a full tight but longer than a knee crop. Plus, the print is more flattering than you’d imagine. I’ve worn them in hot and cold weather. You can see them in action in Peru.

Best Running Gear of 2014

Lucy Endurance Run Capri

Lucy Endurance Run Capri, $79

My other favorite maker of tights? Lucy. This is my third pair and I love them all, and wear them all, all the time.

The Endurance Run Capri is soft like silk and crazy comfortable with flat chafe-free seams. A generous zippered back pocket has room for even the largest phone, and reflective strips at the calf help you look bright under lights. I also appreciate the longer crop on these tights. I’d really call them more crops than capris.

Best Running Gear of 2014

Janji Running Capris

Janji Running Capris, $56-$66

Janji is a different kind of running company. With every garment they sell, Janji aims to fight the global water crisis. A portion of proceeds from each garment goes to a water-focused charity in six countries: U.S., Tanzania, Haiti, Kenya, Peru and Rwanda. How much of the proceeds? They measure it in water.

Each pair of Janji Running Capris gives three years of clean water to a person in Tanzania. Not to mention that they’re quality tights, too. Made from a sueded, substantial jersey, they also have a zippered back pocket, and second skin fit. Plus, they’re crazy flattering too.

Best Running Gear of 2014

Gore Sunlight 3/4 Pants

Gore Running Wear Sunlight Pants 3/4, $80

These are the capris I wore to my fastest half-marathon in two years at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon. It’s a really different take on running capris. They’re lightweight and loose, with jean-style packets in the back. It’s not a capri tight, it’s a capri pant.

My only complaint is that the drawstring is on the outside, a style I just tend not to prefer. But it hasn’t stopped me from wearing them all the time. They’re comfortable and cute. Win-win!

Running Shorts

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

Nike Modern Tempo Embossed Shorts

Nike Modern Tempo Embossed Running Shorts, $40

The Nike Modern Tempo Embossed Running Shorts are a huge improvement on the classic Nike Tempo Shorts. The fit is less boxy with a more generous inseam. Mesh panels let the shorts move with you and a back zip pocket holds a gel and more.

I wore these shorts at the Maraton RPP Scotiabank in Peru and the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco, and they glided with me every step of the way. These have made their way to the top of my shorts drawer.

Best Running Gear of 2014

Oakley En Route Short

Oakley En Route Short, $27

Ultra lightweight and made from a four-way stretch material, the Oakley En Route Short is so incredibly comfortable, moving with my body. I run in these shorts regularly. You can see them in action during a beach run in Panama.

The back zip pocket is enough to stash a gel or ID and keys. The cut is supremely flattering, too. The only thing I don’t love is that the drawstring tie is on the outside, creating a “bump” under your shirt. But the next iteration of these shorts for Spring 2015 has the drawstring on the inside. Perfect.

Best Running Gear of 2014

New Balance Boylston Short

New Balance Boylston Short, $25

Lightweight and pretty too, these have become my go-to black shorts for race day. I wore them at the Firecracker 8K and NYRR Team Championships.

Three pockets—two on the sides and one zip—hold everything you could possibly need. And the subtle pattern makes them more stylish than your average black short. These shorts were made for racing and looking good while you’re at it.

Best Running Gear of 2014

New Balance 4 Inch Go To Short

New Balance 4 Inch Go 2 Short, $25-$35

I’m not a big boy short wearer, which is why I appreciate the longer seam on these New Balance 4 Inch Go 2 Shorts. These capris-in-shorts-form are comfortable, sleek, and stay put with a drawstring waist. A back pocket is large enough for a credit card and keys.

While I wear capris, all the time, I almost never wear tight shorts like this because I feel self-conscious. These? I chose to wear them on TV. Not self-conscious at all. They’re also great under a Sparkle Skirt. Just saying.

Running Skirts

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

Sparkle Athletic Skirt

Sparkle Athletic Sparkle Running Skirt, $25-$40

I met the ladies of Team Sparkle and donned my first Sparkle Running Skirt in 2012. But 2014 was the year of sparkle for me. I wore my Sparkle Athletic skirts at four races this year.

They’ve been the base of many a running costume for me: Cinderella, Cinderella in Pink, Esmeralda, and Belle. Not to mention that Sparkle Athletic accessories—from Sparkle Sleeves to Power Wristbands—have been part of every single one of my running costumes. I love how lightweight the skirts are and that I can still wear my favorite shorts underneath. I’ve also run in them in non-costume races when I just needed some extra pizzazz.

Best Running Gear of 2014

Gore Magnitude Skort

Gore Magnitude Skort, $80

I’ve trained and raced in this beauty, and love how light, but functional it is. A zippered back pocket holds a gel and bit more, and a hidden side pocket provides extra storage. Separate front and back panels create a split-short effect for total freedom of movement. And full built-in shorts provide all the coverage you need.

I own it in an eye-popping yellow that perfectly matches all the other yellow gear I own, including socks and headbands. Love me some matchy-matchy.

Best Running Gear of 2014

Running Skirts Athletic Skirt

Running Skirts Athletic Skirt, $69

I wear my Running Skirts skirt running, running errands, sailing and more. Velcro pockets on the side provide storage and the slight A-line cut is flattering.

Running Skirts makes the same skirts with two different underpinnings. Their “running skirts” come with briefs underneath and “athletic skirts” have compression shorts. I personally tend to prefer the Athletic Skirts because the shorts give more coverage and the briefs are a bit tight for me. But both styles come in a rainbow of colors and patterns.

Sports Bras

Best Running Gear of 2014

Oakley Strappy For You Bra

Oakley Strappy For You Bra

Oakley makes my favorite sports bras. My two absolute faves—Breathe In Bra from 2013 and this one—are both from Oakley. Don’t get me wrong—I own and wear other sports bras that I love. But Oakley’s are the perfect mix of form, function, and fashion. They are supremely comfortable, make me feel good, and wash beautifully. All that from a sports bra? Yup.

Strappy For You might be the most comfortable sports bra I’ve ever worn. Ever. You can see it in action during my beach run in Panama. The bad news is it seems to be sold out everywhere. The good news is that I’d feel comfortable recommending any Oakley bra at this point. Love them that much.

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

Nike Pro Core Fierce bra

Nike Pro Fierce Women’s Sports Bra, $50

This is my favorite Nike sports bra that I’ve tried in recent years. They bill it as medium support, but it gives more than enough hold for me on long runs. It’s ever so slightly padded, with mesh cups and smooth anti-chafe seams. There’s also a mesh panel in the back. I’ve raced and trained in this bra and, simply, love it.

Compression

C3fit Performance Long Tights, $159

It was love at first squeeze when I pulled on these compression tights from C3fit. They squeeze in all the right places and feel great when I run. They’re also crazy flattering, believe it or not, prints and all. I own them in navy blue camp. The elastic waist band doesn’t have a draw string, so it might be a bit tight for folks who like a looser band. But I love these beauties.

Best Running Gear of 2014

C3fit Performance Long Tights

Best Running Gear of 2014

2XU Women’s Compression Tights

2XU Women’s Compression Tights, $100

Feel the need for squeeze? Breathable and lightweight, these compression tights are graduated with greater squeeze at the calf than at the thigh. As I researched in my Guide to Compression Running Gear at SHAPE.com, that’s exactly what you want. Throw in a drawstring waistband, internal pocket and cute X details, and you’ve got a great compression tight. I feel good in them. There’s no other way to put it.

Nike Elite Compression OTC, $50

Most compression socks I’ve tried are on the thicker side. But I personally love a thin sock. Enter the Nike Elite Compression. These socks are thin but sturdy, silky soft and give a subtle squeeze around your calves. I love these beauties and wore them at the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco. If you’re looking for a thin compression sock, look no further.

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

Nike Elite Compression

Best Running Gear of 2014

CEP Progressive+ Run Socks

CEP Compressive+ Run Socks, $48-$60

You’ve seen Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi wearing them, and I sported them at the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half. CEP makes serious compression socks for serious runners. But they come in serious colors too. With graduated compression, arch support, and sweat-wicking properties, these socks do it all. They’re on the thicker side with a wide toe box.

I also have CEP’s Recovery+ Pro Socks ($32-$50). I wear them on just about every flight I take, especially to and from races. The black socks fit perfectly under a black pair of tights for travel. Love them!

Running Skirts Compression Socks, $30-$39

Running Skirts sells their Compression Socks in five different designs, including rainbows, hearts, camo, polka dots and stars & stripes. Best of all, the colorful socks have the same 20 to 30 mmHg graduated compression of other brands. I own the stars & stripes and red polka dots. I get questions and comments every time I wear them. I’ve run half-marathons in these beauties with nary a blister. They’re so comfortable and squeeze so good.

Best Running Gear of 2014

Running Skirts Compression Socks

Best Running Gear of 2014

Thirty48 Compression Sleeves

Thirty48 Compression Sleeves, $30

Looking for a sleeve, instead of a sock? I love these colorful calf-holders from Thirty48. With graduated compression, and an airflow design to help circulation, they fit the bill. I’ve really become of devotee of compression in recent years—wearing socks and sleeves as the mood moves me. Do they make me faster? No. But I definitely notice that I’m less sore after running or racing in compression than when I don’t.

Hats & Headbands

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

Under Armour Headband

Under Armour Quilted Run Headband, $25

Windproof, warm, and breathable, I wear this headband all the time. Best of all, it actually fits my incredibly small head, unlike some other running headbands I’ve gotten, which are too big. This is a great cold-weather piece.

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

ASICS Thermopolis 2-N-1 Headwarmer

ASICS Thermopolis LT 2-N-1 Headwarmer, $18

A reversible headwarmer? Yes, please! Mine is orange on one side and black on the other, and I wear both sides frequently. The double layer is warm and it’s contoured to cover your ears. One word of caution: if you have a teeny, tiny head like I do (adult size hats don’t fit—I have to wear children’s sizes, no joke), this might be a bit big. I ended up sewing the seam over on itself to tighten it. One I did, I’ve never looked back. You can see me in it here.

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

New Balance Momentum Stride Cap

New Balance Momentum Stride Cap, $20

Insanely light and vented on the sides, this is my go-to rainy day running hat. I wore it at the NYRR Team Championships. It comes in seven colors and adjusts to fit my teeny, tiny head. It’s reflective and has a Ultraviolet Protection Factor of 30+. Perfect for someone like me who’s already had one skin cancer scare.

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

Headsweats Supervisor

Headsweats Supervisor Hi-Vis, $22

Oh, Headsweats. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love your elastic band that fits my tiny head and my husband’s large head too. I love your COOLMAX terry sweatband that keeps my eyes sweat free, even on the most brutally hot days. I love your reflective material and piping for dark-hour runs. And I love how well you wash and wear, again and again.

I own two different Headsweats visors and wear them all the time. You can see me in this one at the Jerusalem Half Marathon, and my other one at the Firecracker 8K, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and other races.

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

Sparkly Soul Headbands

Sparkly Soul Sparkly Headbands, $15-$17

How is it possible that I haven’t worn a Sparkly Soul headband before this year? Me, a professed lover of sparkle? Once I did, there was no going back. I now own three and wear them all the time. The Sparkly headbands come in two sizes—thin and wide—and two fabrics—sparkly and satin. Why do I love them? They really don’t slip and fit my head perfectly. Plus, they give any running ensemble a pop of sparkle.

Gloves & Arm Sleeves

Favorite Running Gear of 2014

Gore Mythos Windstopper Gloves

Gore Running Wear MYTHOS Windstopper Lady Gloves, $60

Running gloves actually made for a women’s hand? Yes! I got these for cold weather running, and wore them at the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon. I couldn’t love them more. These gloves do it all and have it all. Flat out, they’re the best running gloves I’ve ever owned.

The soft fleece liner insulates, long wrist cuffs tuck over a thumbhole shirt or under jacket sleeves, and a zip pocket on the cuff holds a key and money. The thumb and pointer fingers are smart-phone friendly, and absorbent material on the thumb is perfect for wiping a runny nose mid run. The palm is lined with silicon grippers and the hand is lined with reflective strips. Best of all, they’re made from Windstopper fabric that doesn’t let a breeze in.

ASICS Everyday Liner Gloves, $12

ASICS Everyday Liner Gloves are just that: perfect to slip on in cool, but not cold weather. Made from a durable yarn, they also have grippers on the palm. I wear these all the time.

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

ASICS Everday Liner Gloves

Best Running Gear of 2014

Running Skirts Compression Sleeves

Running Skirts Compression Sleeves, $27-$39

The arm sleeves are light on compression but heavy on other features, like a pocket on each arm, thumbholes, and roll-over cuff that can cover your fingers on unexpectedly cold days. Like Running Skirts socks, they come in a rainbow of colors and patterns for a little fun on your run.

Socks

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

Speedform socks

Under Armour Speedform No Show Socks, $13

Under Armour has long made some of my favorite running toeholders with their Liner Socks that I included in my Triathlon Gear List. Now they’ve done it again with these low tab socks that give more arch support than the liners with anatomical left/right fit. They’re ultra thin, which I love, and have no-slip grippers at the heel.

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

Nike cushioned socks

Nike Elite Cushioned No-Show Tab, $16

If you like your socks on the thicker side, you can’t go wrong with these beauties from Nike. With great arch support and cushioned at the heel, under the toe, and top of the foot where laces squeeze, these are quality socks.

Plus, they come in an array of beautiful colors other than white and black. Yay!

Balega Hidden Contour, $14

Seamless toebox? Check. Mesh ventilation panels? Check. Heel tab and deep heel pocket? Check and check. Balega’s Hidden Contour socks have it all. They are also on the thicker side, unlike a thinner liner sock. And they also come in purty, purty colors, too.

Favorite Running Gear of 2014

Balega Hidden Countour

Favorite Running Gear of 2014

Brooks Essential Tab

Brooks Essential Low Tab, $17

This socks splits the difference between a thin type, like the Under Armour above, and thicker ones like the Nike and Balega options listed here. Mesh panels on the top help keep feet cool, and a reinforced toe with flat seams keeps you blister free.

Body

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

enso Roller

ensō Roller by EvoFit, $69

The ensō Roller personalizes muscle relief with a completely customizable roller that allows for both deep-tissue and light massage, depending on your needs. Instead of a single piece of foam, the ensō Roller uses adjustable discs to pinpoint a problem spot or avoid a nearby area altogether. At 13-inches long with 8 discs, ensō allows for countless configurations for different body parts. An enclosed booklet and an entire “How To” section on the website will show you how to set the discs for less, more and super aggresive massage for various body parts. This product has turned me from a non-roller into a roller.

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

The Stick

The Stick, $24-$54

Runners come in all shapes and sizes, and so does the Stick, a self-massage tool to help ease sore and tight muscles. Whether you’re a marathoner, a sprinter, or always on the go, there’s a Stick for you. You can choose a Stick based on size or flexibility for softer or deeper massages. I bought my first stick and have since acquired two more. I own the Travel Stick, which fits easily in a carry-on suitcase, the Sprinter Stick, which is one of the firmest, and the Marathon Stick, which is one of the most flexible. My husband and I use these all the time. I stick before I run, I stick after I run, and it feels great.

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

Aches & Pains Relief

Village Naturals Therapy Aches & Pain Relief Concentrated Mineral Bath Soak, $5

I love a good bath, especially after a long run (and no, not an ice bath!) Epsom salts are usually my go-to, until I found this Village Naturals Therapy soak. With sea salt and epsom salt, paired with eucalyptus, spearmint, and menthol extracts, this soak is so soothing. They also make a Foaming Bath Oil & Body Wash that I enjoy to match each of their mixes: Aches & Pains, Stress & Tension Relief, Restless Nights, and Cold & Allergy Relief. Plus, they don’t test on animals.

Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage, $70 and up

At home massage tools are essential, but they don’t replace a good old-fashioned visit with a massage therapist versed in sports therapy. In New York City, I’ve been to countless spas, but love the extra attention your runner’s body gets at Body Mechanics. If you’re looking for a sports massage in New York City, you can’t find better than them. Their nearly-perfect Yelp score says it all.

All of the products in this guide were complimentary samples given to me by the manufacturer, press reps, or other folks at an event or race. Many of the items I receive or buy never make the pages of “Run, Karla, Run!” I simply don’t write about products that I don’t love. So if it made the cut, I officially use it and love it. For more information, read my disclosure policy.

Karla Bruning

About 

Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.

8 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    I wouldn’t mind if I found a bunch of these items under the Christmas tree!
    Tina@GottaRunNow recently posted..3 Tips for a Long RunMy Profile

  2. 3

    Wow, you’ve given this a lot of thought. Ha, I have a few go-to outfits for my long runs and races, but most of the time I just grab whatever workout gear is closest and head out the door.
    I love those colorful compression socks!
    I have the Nike+ Tom Tom GPS watch, does the nike band work similarly to that?
    scott recently posted..Animated Running, Trail Nimbleness, Yoga Bliss, & I’m a Sunglassed Winner!My Profile

    • Karla Bruning
      4

      The Nike band doesn’t have GPS, but instead counts steps, calories, and “Nikefuel,” a mysterious number that measures overall movement. The band and watch can interact together online in the Nike+ interface, so that’s kind of cool.

  3. Mel #
    5

    I loved this post! Thanks! So helpful & informative, I’m certainly going to be referring to these links when gearing up for new running gear.

  4. 7

    Happy to read the Great post!Thanks for sharing Thoughts.

  5. 8

    Those American looking socks seem very expensive. This is a good list of running gear thank you for sharing.
    MSCSN recently posted..What is Tiger Balm & how does it help?My Profile


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